Epilogue: Eleanor of Aquitaine and a “Queenly Court”?

  • Jane Martindale
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Eleanor of Aquitaine s personality and career have been the object of an extraordinarily wide range of interpretations over the centuries. Recently Martin Aurell has argued that these ought to be distinguished with care and that the different historical methods and historiographical approaches applied to discussion of Eleanor’s life should be disentangled, and related to the intellectual and historical context of the times in which their various authors lived. In particular, he suggests that twentieth-century historians’ use of interpretations based on psychoanalytical methods has meant that the traditional portrait of the “queen of the troubadours,” president and judge in courts of love, and patron of the arts became that of “a possessive mother, responsible for all her sons’ traumas, complexes, and hatreds.” Aurell concluded that such startling transformations in Eleanor’s reputation have induced a deep skepticism in scholars, who now seem content to record legends and images transmitted by the sources “without trying to understand what these may have taken from historical reality from beyond the outlook of scribes, chroniclers and writers.”1


Twelfth Century Historical Reality Courtly Love Royal Power Deep Skepticism 
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Copyright information

© John Carmi Parsons and Bonnie Wheeler 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane Martindale

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